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Normal corporate tax rate for banking sector recommended

KARACHI: Foreign investors have recommended that corporate tax rates for the banking sector should be aligned with other sectors.

At present the banking sector is paying 35 percent corporate tax rate as compared with 29 percent corporate tax rate for other sectors.

Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) in its proposals for budget 2021/2022 submitted to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) recommended that corporate tax rates for the banking sector should be aligned with other sectors.

Further super tax relief, as granted to other industries, should be given to banking sector as well.

Regarding the issue of Tax Deduction on Profit on Debt under section 151 of Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, the OICCI recommended that there should be a uniform withholding tax rate of 15 percent for all payments of profit on debt by omitting below provision inserted through Finance Act, 2020:

“Provided that the rate shall be 10 percent in cases where the taxpayer furnishes a certificate to the payer of profit that during the tax year yield or profit paid is rupees five hundred thousand rupees or less”, and Circular be withdrawn, to avoid litigation between banks and department.

For enhanced rate of tax on Additional income from additional investment in Federal Government Securities (Rule 6C of Seventh Schedule), the OICCI recommended Rule 6C of seventh schedule of Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 should be deleted whereby enhanced rate of 37.5 percent is applied on banks income from additional investment in Federal Government Securities.

According to Rules for person not appearing in Active Taxpayer List (Section 100BA and Tenth Schedule) if a withholding tax agent is satisfied that a person not appearing in Active Taxpayers List (ATL) is not required to file return, then before deducting tax he will furnish to the Commissioner a notice carrying particulars of taxpayer along with reason on the basis of which it is considered that the person is not required to file a return.

The OICCI recommended to delete the rule as branch managers are not conversant with tax laws. Alternatively, if FBR is satisfied that a person is not required to file return of income, his CNIC/Name should be included in an Exempt Taxpayer List (Similar to ATL) which should be issued periodically.

The original provision of the Seventh Schedule should be restored where provision for bad debts as per the Prudential Regulations of SBP and supported by an Auditors certificate was allowable as a tax deduction to the banks. Alternatively, threshold for allowing provision for bad debts should be increased to 2 percent of gross advances to corporate customers.

The rule 9 of the Seventh Schedule of ITO 2001 should be deleted as it is being misused and leading to unnecessary litigation.